The first thing you should do when trying to reach the front at a concert is decide whether you really want to do it. The view is better, obviously, as you're closer to the act, but the sound isn't likely to improve, and musical acts are there to be listened to aren't they? The problem with moving closer to the stage, is that the closer you get, the more time you're going to end up spending getting kicked in the head by crowd surfers, and being crushed by the movement of the crowd, both of which make it hard to focus on the view or the music. If you're sure its worth it, and want to try for the front row, read on, but consider yourself warned.

There is no set strategy for moving forward, as a crowd is, by nature chaotic and unpredictable, but there are a few common situations that can be capitalized on if you know what you're doing.

1. The people behind/around you push forward. Don't help. pushing forward isn't nice, as there really isn't anywhere for the people in front of you to go, and you're just crushing them. Security guards hate pushers as well, and will be looking for any opportunity to haul one out of the crowd and send them to the back. It's just not worth it. Don't fight the pushers either, as it is counter-productive to your goal, and not likely to do any good. just go with the flow, and let them push you forward.

2. The people in front of/around you push backwards Again, don't help. This time you wouldn't be hurting anyone, as the folks behind you have all the room in the world to move. But pushing backwards isn't likely to help your chances of reaching the front now is it? Fighting it doesn't work either, it seems to me to be remarkably similar to pushing forward which has already been discussed. Going with the flow isn't the best idea here though. Let them flow around you. Turn sideways so as to take up less space, and let yourself slip in the spaces between the pushers.

3. Someone near you wants to start crowd surfing. Help them up for god's sake. A crowd surfer leaves a path of destruction behind them that allows you to follow them to some extent. Also, most initial crowd surfing attempts fail, and result in a crash landing, which I'll cover next.

4. A crowdsurfer gets dropped on his ass near you A dream come true. The weight of a falling crowdsurfer knocks everyone nearby out of the way. Help the to their feet, and weasel your way into the space made by them. Think about this. A crash landing clears out an area the size of someone lying down. Once they're on their feet, they take up alot less space, the rest of which will quickly fill back in. Stake your claim.

5. A crowdsurfer is passing overhead If you've been paying attention, and are an evil bastard, the answer to this situation should be obvious. Do your best to ensure they get dropped on their ass in front of you, then proceed to step 4.

6. Someone in the crowd ahead of you starts to hyperventilate, and needs to leave the crowd in a hurry. This will result in one of two situations. They, and possibly any friends with them will push their way back out of the crowd, making a small, very short-lived path behind them that you may be able to squeeze through until it dissapears. Sometimes however, they are close enough to the front that they push their way forward and get hauled out for security. This is even better as it allows you to follow them, and spend much more time in the path.

Crowd surfers prove to be the most effective path forwards - if you can't see any, ask someone who looks like they'd dig it if they want to go up. Follow them for a few steps. But, none of the above means will get you all the way to the front in time for the main part of the show... The best way to get ahead if you don't mind the looks is to tell everyone you're heading to the pit and you won't take up any space in the crowd... everyone will let you through to the front, seeing that you're obviously more hardcore/crazy than them. Once you reach the pit, go in for a minute or two and take your place in the front. Or stay there - this method has never failed me, regardless of venue size.

It seems to me that the most effective (and obvious) way to get to the front of the crowd is to crowd surf. For one, you don't have to wait with passive agression for some poor sod to get dropped on his ass. You get to take charge. A lot of crowds I've seen pass crowd surfers straight to the front. As long as you manage to get off the top of the crowd before the crowd control pulls you off and send you to the back, you should make excellent time to the front. Of crouse, you do risk being one of the poor sods that gets dropped on his ass.

Another method of getting to the front is to make friends with some big dude and ask nicely if he would take you there. This is a particularly useful technqiue if you're an attractive female, but most big guys are nice enough to help anyone on their way forward.

If you seek the front merely for the view (and happen to be female, or REALLY good friends with said giant), why not take advantage of his height and sit on his shoulders? This is also a particularly useful tactic in college riots, especially if you offer to take off your shirt.

I've done this in three ways. Two were at General Admission (i.e. standing room only) concerts, the other was at an assigned seating affair. No matter where my starting position or ticket, at the 5 concerts that I've been to that qualify, I have *always* gotten to either the first/second row of General Admission seating, or less than 5 rows behind the pit of a ticketed concert.

1. Jockeying For Position Early
This is pretty simple. Before the concert starts, especially while the gates have just been open for a few minutes, people are milling around in loose groups. I emphasize loose, because it means there's lots of wiggle room in which to squeeze past people for a better position. However, if you do this, you're in it for the long haul, as you will most likely not be able to go for food, the bathroom, without relinquishing your position. This method is for the "hardcore" fans, and those who have gained their spot in the front like this hate those who get their spots at the front through pushing and suchlike. However, I say that if you must fight for the front row, you're more of a fan than the wimps that didn't want to break a nail.

2. Following The Guys Bigger Than You (aka Trailing)
Again, another obvious title. This can happen before or during the music, which makes it all the much more challenging. The concept here is that if you notice a group of guys trying to squeeze their way past you, you join them, following them as far as they'll go. As they push their way through the crowd, they will undoubtedly leave a small path through which you can follow to fame, glory, and a better view. The beauty of this is that if your "group" stops in the middle of another group, they will tell you to get past them so that they aren't so crushed. Take advantage of this!

And now, my favorite...

3. Rowhopping/Evading Security.
I used this at the 2002 Y100 FEZtival, and I managed to get from Row P on the very very left end to four rows from behind the pit, with a perfect near-center view for the best concert I've ever seen in my life. I shit you not, and here's how:

First off, some background. This event took place at the Tweeter Center in Camden, NJ. The rowhopping took place in the Main Stage, which was called the Pavilion, IIRC. The concert was a true festival, and the Main Stage had 9 acts. Early on in the day, for Sugarcult, Unwritten Law, and Pete Yorn, it was general seating, which meant that you could sit anywhere as long as whoever held the ticket wasn't sitting there or didn't show up. After Pete Yorn's performance, they emptied the Pavilion, and it now became ticketed (i.e. you sat where your ticket said you were allowed to sit). So, I get to my seat, which was Section 104, Row P, Seat 32. Literally, the left end of the row, and a horrible view. As I sat down with my bag of swag, I noticed a few guys around my age behind me, quickly advancing down the rows. As they passed my row, I was determined to follow them. So, I got up, and started hopping the seats along with them. We made it to the front of the aisle between 104 and 103, where we stayed until some bitch sitting in the front row of Section 103 complained to security. Security was already clearing the aisles on a regular basis, and when they came, I did the smartest thing I've ever done at a concert:

I hid in a seat

Yes, it's that simple. I ducked into row 4 (can't remember the letter) of Section 104, with a perfect view of the stage. Security didn't notice, so I stayed there. I stayed there through Jimmy Eat World, Our Lady Peace, and Papa Roach. the section did fill up, but the owner of my seat didn't come. However, after Papa Roach, my throat was raw and I required a bottle of overpriced water. So, I entrusted a guy who looked trustworthy with my swag bag (which, for the record, contained posters, cd samplers, and my sweatshirt which I had taken off earlier in the day), and got a bottle of water. When, I came back, security was checking tickets. This brings us to the final way to reach the front at a concert:

4. Bullshit security
Yes, It's Just That Simple. When she asked me where I sat, I was truthful. What I did say, however, was that while seating was still general, I had left my tee-shirt in an unknown seat in the fourth row and forgotten it, and can I please go and look? Guess what? Worked like a fucking charm. I laughed all the way back to my seat and the guy, who returned my schwag bag unharmed. I then proceeded to watch amazing sets from Incubus and System of a Down before walking to my dad's car, half-deaf, throat raw, and happy as I'd ever been.

And just so you can understand the magnitude of that feat, the seating chart of the Tweeter Center is available at

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.